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German MP causes controversy after proposing the end of first class rail travel
Posted on 19/08/2019

TransportGermany

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Bernd Riexinger, the co-leader of Die Linke party, Germany's Democratic Socialist party, has been highly criticized after proposing to put an end to first-class rail travel.



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© Jakobradlgruber / 123RF

German MP Bern Riexinger caused controversy after asking Deutsche Bahn, Germany's rail operator, to abandon first class travel options in order to counter overcrowding and improve energy efficiency. According to the German left wing politician, there is no real use in having two distinct travel classes. Talking about the second class in an interview for the German news network RND, he commented that "people are standing in the corridors, while in the first class there's loads of free space."

The politician believes that travel should be made more accessible to every passenger and urged the railway company to consider his suggestion, highlighting the fact that buses have only one travel class. This quickly sparked outrage among passenger associations and other German politicians. For Karl-Peter Naumann, head of the German Passenger Association, Riexinger's proposal is "indecent nonsense."

In the past few years, travelers in Germany have faced increasing problems when taking the train, such as overcrowding in second classes or delays. But despite Bern Riexinger's will to tackle the problem, many dismissed his proposal. For German politician Enak Ferlemann, "If someone is prepared to pay more for broader seats and more room they should be allowed to enjoy their journey this way."

Last month, Luise Neubaer, a German climate activist of the environmental movement FridaysForFuture, had already caused controversy after proposing a ban on domestic air travel in Germany to encourage people to travel by train instead of plane.

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